mardi 6 mai 2008

Roma: Day 6 and 7

Day 6

In the morning, Rosario drove us to the airport since he works there anyway. He hugged and bisoued each of us and said, "Ciao, bella." When an Italian says that to you, it really pulls at the heartstrings. And that wouldn't be the last time. We checked in our bags, got a bite to eat, and boarded our plane to Roma.

Andrea picked us up from the airport. Keisha didn't talk much about him except that he was a cool guy. I've met a lot of really cool people through Keisha so I trust her judgment. He studied at SFSU for a semester and now he works for Shell as an accounts manager. I expected to meet this European business dude that goes to restaurants with clients and meets other European business friends for drinks in the city. I was not wrong.

Andrea came out of his car wearing a button down and jeans. He greeted us with a total firm business handshake. He had curly hair and a strong nose. He looked like he could have been a Greek soldier or a Roman senator in his past life. He was totally cool though, making jokes and pointing out historical sites. He was on his lunch break so he dropped us off inside the city to wander around for the afternoon and then he'd meet us for dinner.The girls and I got a city map and walked along the Tiber and in front of Rome's only castle, Castel Sant Angelo. We then went to St. Peter's basilica and stood in awe in front of it before walking over to the Forum and the Coliseum. Rome is pretty small, it's awesome.We met up with Andrea and his friend Roberto at a metro, and they took us to go pick up pizza for dinner. Roberto was SO CUTE. He's a business man as well and had apologized for his suit, saying he didn't have time to change since he just came from work. His suit was perfection; I love it when guys wear suits that fit them well. He wore glasses and had a stubble like Jack from "Lost". And he drives a scooter! He speaks 4 languages as well. While we were driving around he'd tell us about the sights we were passing. When we passed a big church he said, "And that's the church where I want to get married...But I need a girlfriend first." We all laughed. Andrea added, "It's going to be a discotheque by then! Or a casino."

We ate pizza back at Andrea's apartment and Roberto lugged Keisha's luggage up 4 flights of stairs for her. Andrea had already brought Lucia and mine up. Roberto was telling me about some Italian movies that he liked after dinner, and we watched the tail-end of an Italian movie on tv while Roberto translated. His boss called him during dinner and asked him to stay later at work tomorrow. He was visibly upset after the call. I felt so bad. God, there's something about businessmen that just gets to me! He was really sweet, funny, and nice, and I was sad to see him go with his scooter helmet in hand. We never saw him again after that. I hope he's well. He's only 25, and yet he seemed much older, in a good way. Just really mature and pulled together, and it's nice to meet boys like that.

Day 7

Today, we decided to do the Coliseum and Forum. Outside the Coliseum are these guys trying to rope you into a tour. They offer the ticket and a guided tour in one price, and you get to skip the long lines at the ticket office. We got offered 25 euros for each of us, but told the guy that we were getting in for free since we had "European citizenship". Really, our carte de sejours wouldn't cover the free ticket that's offered to Euro citizens, but we were hoping the guy would give us a deal. He didn't.

The next guy though was different. He offered 25; we asked for 15. The thing is--you can barter here, especially on this kind of stuff. And Keisha and Lucia were really good at it. I am not. I think three people trying to make a deal is too much, so I just play the silent and mean card. And then, and it's kind of rude, we'd discuss in front of the guy about the deal in French so he wouldn't understand. It's kind of sneaky, but it's the only way. Finally, the guy said 20 for Keisha and Lucia, and that I can get in for free. Me! I think it's because I'm short, and I look childish. Of course, we split it three ways so 40 euros for three tickets!The Coliseum and Forum tours were really amazing. The guides were English speaking Romans. They had these cool books that showed pictures of how the site would look back then. It was pretty neat. I should look for that book. Altogether both tours took 3 hours or so. Afterward, we all took naps in this grassy part of the Forum. It was pretty sweet. We took a nap in the Roman Forum.We woke up and it started to rain so we decided to head back home. Lucia got a guy to bring down an 8 euro umbrella to 3 euros. Awesome. Tried to make it to the Bocca della Verita, but it was closed. Took a bus to the Fontana di Trevi and we threw in coins to ensure our speedy return to Rome.

Andrea took us out to dinner at a really good pasta and pizza place. He kept saying, "Eat! Eat! This is the Roman way!" while attacking the plate of appetizers. We walked around the city and ended up at the Pantheon.